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11 Exercises To Help Improve Your Posture
Admit it: with most of us still working from home, our posture has been hit hard. You sit at a desk most of the day or hunched over your phone DMing your friends and scrolling through your feed. No wonder by the time you clock off, you have some serious aches in your back, shoulders, and neck. In fact, bad posture can cause a cascade of structural flaws that lead to back and joint pain, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles, all of which limit your ability to burn fat and build strength.
Everyones posture can use some work one way or another, so to help a sister out we spoke to Tori Clapham, Founder of Peaches Pilates to get some tips from their signature workout ‘Posture Hero’ to help ease out those kinks.
Pike and pedal
Start on all fours, push palms into the ground and lengthen spine to the ceiling. From here start ‘pedaling’ the feet by pushing one heel flat to the ground, keeping a bend in the opposite leg. Hold for 3 seconds and switch legs.
Pike to plank
Bring yourself back to a pike position and then move your body forward into a plank position, hold for 2 counts and then back to pike position. Now repeat the pedaling motion on both legs, holding for 3 seconds on each side again and repeating 3 times on each side. Repeat the pike to plank and repeat the pike to pedal for a third time.
Pike to lying downFrom your pike position, move to a plank and start lower yourself to the ground in four counts, keeping your elbows tight to your ribs. Aim to have your chest meet the ground before your hips.
Lying on your tummy, place your hands under your shoulders. Press up with your palms either half way or if your body allows, push all the way up, keeping a slight bend in the elbows if you do. Keep legs and glutes engaged the whole time to support your lower back. Hold at the top for 3 counts and release, repeat 6 times.
From the previous position, open your knees, push your bottom onto your heels, curl your spine over your body and stretch out your arms in front of you. Child’s pose is great for movement throughout the thoracic spine which is the part of the body most affected from sitting at a desk.
Begin on all fours, shoulders over wrists and hips in line with knees. Place the left hand on the back of the head and start to open up towards the ceiling, hold here for a moment. Reverse this motion and bring the elbow down to the ground and across the body, hold again for a moment. Repeat this 5 times on each side.
This glute activation is a layered exercise, try your hardest to keep the leg engaged the whole time, the glute will fatigue but this is where the magic happens! Push through the burn! It is important to note however that a burn and a pinch are different things, if it is starting to become painful or something does not feel right, stop the exercise and return to child’s pose for a rest.
In a four point kneeling position, shoulders over wrists, hips in line with knees, extend the right leg out behind you to create a straight line from the top of the head all the way to the tips of the toes. Return the leg to meet the other but keep it hovering over the floor, repeat 10 times.
Now extend the right leg again straight behind you, point toes and tap the floor behind you. Lift up to the ceiling and tap the floor again, repeating 10 times.
The same leg now forms a right angle with the toes pointing to the ceiling and using a stomping motion push your foot up towards the roof. Repeat 15 times.
Lower to the forearms, keeping the leg in the right angle position, point toes and lift towards the roof, repeat 20 times. Stop when at the top and pulse the leg up for 15 counts. Stop at the top of the last pulse and hold, engage core to support the back, lift up the left arm and hold for 5 counts.
Now back to child’s pose and rest for 30 seconds. Repeat on the left leg.
Start by lying on the tummy, arms and legs extended and hovering, squeeze shoulders down and back, tuck the chin and keep legs hip width distance apart.
Now lift the right arm and left leg as far up as you can, then switch to the opposite arm and leg, switching again like a swimming motion. Repeat 10 times on each side and complete 3 rounds, resting for 5 seconds between each set. Remember if it feels like a bad idea, then it probably is! Listen to your body and rest when needed.
At the end of the final set, hold all of your limbs off the ground as high as you can, engage the core, glutes and legs.
Keeping limbs hovering, pull your arms back to meet the sides of your body and press back out, repeat 8 times.
Release and go back to child’s pose, big inhale and exhale 5 times.
Lie on the ground, bring knees in line with hips at a right angle. Engage your core and with control move knees over to one side to stretch out through your side and release the spine. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Lying on the ground, plant feet onto the floor. Lift one leg up to the ceiling and straighten up as much as possible, use your hand to assist you by either grabbing the back of the knee or calf, depending on how flexible you are. Flex the foot in this position, this will make the stretch stronger and more effective, hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Grab knees to chest and lightly roll back and forth on the spine a couple of times to bring you back up to seated position.
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